Worried About Your Memory?

Posted on: 10 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The Alzheimer’s Society has launched a national public information campaign to raise awareness of dementia, its symptoms and the importance of getting an early diagnosis.

The “Worried About Your Memory?” campaign will help people to consider if their forgetfulness, or that of a friend or relative, is due to just poor memory or the beginning of a medical problem and encourage them to seek medical advice. 

Currently 700,000 people in the UK live with dementia and by 2025 over a million people will have the illness, which means most people will be affected by it either themselves or through a close family member. 

Warning Signs

• It’s a struggle to remember recent events, although it’s easy to recall things that happened in the past

• It’s hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV

• Regularly forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects

• Inability to recall things heard, seen or read

• Difficulty in making decisions

• Repeat themselves in conversation or lose the thread of what they are saying

• Have problems thinking and reasoning

• Feel anxious and depressed or angry about their forgetfulness

• Find that other people start to comment on their forgetfulness.

Most people think of dementia as a condition affecting only older people but it can affect anyone, at any age.  One in three people over 65 die with dementia.  

However, up to two thirds of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis either because they don’t recognise the symptoms or don't report them to their GP.   It takes an average of nearly three years for a diagnosis from first noticing symptoms, denying sufferers early and appropriate care and support.

Funded by the Department of Health under their National Dementia Strategy for England, the campaign will ensure the “Worried About Your Memory?” leaflets are available at every GP practice in England.  Every doctor in England will also be given a diagnostic tool in the form of a CD Rom to help inform and support their diagnosis decisions, and to help support patients and their families following a positive diagnosis.  

According to a recent study by the National Audit Office, only 30% of GP’s feel that they have enough basic information and training to diagnose and manage dementia.

Anyone concerned about their memory, or that of a friend of relative, should speak to their GP or contact Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Helpline on 0845 300 0336.  For more advice visit the website at www.alzheimers.org.uk.  

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